mowed trail through tall grasses in the fall
Heidi Jones

Nature close to home

Your health and well-being and the future of conservation are linked

Flicker in fall
Flicker resting on a rock covered with moss by Pamela Underhill Karaz.

With today’s hectic lives full of work, school, sports, and family happenings, we all need easy-to-access public outdoor spaces close to home where we can take a break.

Thanks to growing support from people like you, we are expanding the number of places where people from all walks of life can breathe some fresh air, listen to the sounds of nature, and escape their daily pressures while protecting quality wildlife habitat at the same time.

National research to better understand and connect Americans and nature revealed that time outside spent with friends and family surrounded by nature’s healing power has become a necessity for maintaining perspective and finding joy.

The study also offered an important insight and a wake-up call for local land conservation groups like ours:

Participation in traditional nature-based recreation is stagnant or declining; Americans are spending more time indoors using electronic media more than ever before. At the same time, there is growing evidence that human health and well-being depend on beneficial contact with nature.

Our land trust has been working hard to increase access to nature close to home in partnerships with local families, community organizations, and municipalities.

Community conservation growing in the Tug Hill

The 121-acre French Settlement Road Public Conservation Area, located in the Town of Lorraine and donated to our land trust by Dr. Marvin Reimer, is one place to do just that.

This past summer, a parking area was installed thanks to a generous gift from Pure Water for Life. Public programs began this fall, featuring a morning Flow into Fall yoga series outdoors surrounded by the sounds of birds and flowing water.

This winter, we will be hosting snowshoe and cross-country ski outings. As funding becomes available, we will complete the trail system, including an accessible trail, signage, an information kiosk, and benches, in the coming year.


Blue-winged Teal Duck
By Passion 4 Nature

Exploring on the eastern side of Tug Hill

If you’d like to explore another land trust project, the newly dedicated Keller Mohawk Hill Public Conservation Area in the Town of West Turin is a great place to go.

We are working with Ducks Unlimited, volunteers, and community members to make this a haven for wildlife and people. With restored waterfowl wetlands surrounded by open grassland and forested borders, it’s a place of wide open sky and wildlife abundance.

Improvements for wildlife and visitors are planned for the coming year, including an accessible trail system, limited tree plantings, signage, and seating.

Bobolinks and other migratory and grassland birds challenged by habitat loss and climate change now have a safe place to rest and raise their young.

Other special places to explore

There are several other public conservation areas owned and managed by our land trust, including the Joseph Blake Wildlife Sanctuary in the town of Rutland and the upcoming David S. Smith property in the town of Leray.

Each one offers important wildlife habitat and unique opportunities to connect to nature. As we face the need to connect more people to nature close to home to inspire a love of the land, wildlife, and community, these conservation areas are crucial for our overall health and well-being—and as a haven for wildlife.

That only happens because of people like you. Thank you.